Bronze dating

Palestinian nationalists usually emphasize that their shared identity as Arabs transcends the religious diversity of their community: thus, both Muslim Arabs, constituting about 16 percent of the Israeli population, and Christian Arabs, about 2 percent, identify themselves in the first instance as Arabs.

The Arab majority resident in the living outside the area (many in nearby countries such as Lebanon) have strongly opposed Israeli control and have feared an eventual annexation of the West Bank and Gaza by Israel.

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Once covered with marshes, the Sharon plain was reclaimed in the post-Exilic and Hellenistic period and is now a settled area.

Fields and fruit groves are laid out between scattered sandstone ridges, on which villages have grown up.

The maritime plain connects with Esdraelon by the pass of Megiddo and several lesser routes between the mountain spurs of .

North of the Bet Netofa Valley (Plain of Asochis) is Upper Galilee, with elevations of 4,000 feet (1,200 metres), a scrub-covered limestone plateau that is thinly populated.

Both Zionists and Palestinian Arab nationalists have at various times since the 19th century claimed rightful possession of the area west of the Jordan River.

The rivalry between the two groups and their claims have been major causes of the numerous conflicts and the continuing crises in the region.

The name Palestine has long been in popular use as a general term to denote a traditional region, but this usage does not imply precise boundaries.

The perception of what constitutes Palestine’s eastern boundary has been especially fluid, although the boundary frequently has been perceived as lying east of the Jordan River, extending at times to the edge of the .

It extends from Beersheba in the north, where 8 inches (200 mm) or more of precipitation falls annually and grain is grown, to the port city of The social geography of modern Palestine, especially the area west of the Jordan River, has been greatly affected by the dramatic political changes and wars that have brought this small region to the attention of the world.

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